Emily VanDerWerff, Vox:
Ted Lasso is way more than just a (quite good) cult TV show. It’s also a window into a handful of pop culture trends that have swirled together into one unassuming little package. Ted Lasso isn’t just a show about a coach who cares about his players more than wins and losses. It’s also a show about the way we wish the world would be.
I would argue “comfort food TV” goes beyond shows that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, because it’s relatively easy to pour on the saccharine sweetness and much, much harder to evoke the feeling of safety that comfort food TV inspires.
The phrase “comfort food TV” captures Ted Lasso perfectly. And Ted Lasso succeeds brilliantly in a category that is incredibly difficult to pull off.
But Emily’s article dive’s much deeper than a discussion of comfort food:
Ted Lasso also presents an idealistic view of how the powerful rich white cis straight men who our American system so privileges could and should carry themselves. Ted Lasso overcomes everybody’s resistance through being a genuine and nice man. But that, perversely, speaks to the privilege he has within the system he is part of.
When Parks and Recreation tried the same with Leslie Knope (a powerful and eventually affluent white cis straight woman), it always had to couch her persistence in tones of “Sure, she’s annoying, buuuut …” Ted Lasso takes a few faint stabs at “people roll their eyes at Ted!” but by the middle of its first season, he’s won over even the press that taunted him mercilessly when he took over the team. It’s a bit wild, and again, it’s clearly a fantasy. But it’s a fantasy that speaks to something people long for right now.
If you are a Ted Lasso fan, or a TV nerd (like me), carve out a bit of time to read the whole thing. Does a great job explaining the genius of Ted Lasso.